16 hours post diagnosis


#1

tl;dr: How can I be supportive to someone whose schizophrenia is not well controlled?

Not my diagnosis, my brother’s. The psychiatrist was 100% sure he was psychotic. We have a pretty heavy family history of schizophrenia on both sides of the family.

The whole experience has been pretty scary for me. I’m doing the best I can with it and one of my parents is supportive, as is my husband. He was getting distracted by things that weren’t there and was screaming. He was so distracted that he ran head first into a wall while we were walking in the hospital. They involuntarily admitted him to the hospital but he agreed to it so it went easier for him. When I hugged him he just froze up and seemed like he didn’t know what was happening.

The parent who is cooperative with his care has offered to take over his care, but I’m the one who is close to the resources he needs. I’ve sort of thought things would go this way (and that I would have to care for him) since I was a teenager 12 years ago but I never thought it would be this difficult. I’m going to see him today in the hospital and I just don’t know what to do or say to help him.

Any suggestions? I’m seriously open to anything at this point.


#2

My kid sis has taken care of me for years and years. I have a job now, I’m med compliant and in remission I’d guess you’d call it. I owe a lot of my success and functioning to her kindness and patience.

I’d say, when you hugged him, it was most likely a bit of a shock. I’ve said this before and it seems to sort of make sense…

think of how much light hurst when your eyes are dilated… Now think of how much everything would hurt if every sense you have is blown into full dilation. sound, light, touch, taste, on and on. With the confusion, panic, voices, hallucinations, the hug was just one more thing of … What in the world is that now?

I loved it when my kid sis would come to visit me in hospital and just hang out with me. We didn’t talk much because I was too far out of lucid town. But I knew who she was and she would really just hang out. She would bring coloring books and we would just color and have small conversations.

It really saved my life to know that she and other family members hadn’t completely given up on me. I wasn’t and untouchable. I still had someone on my side.

I admit when I was talking to her I would loose what I was saying and then I’d get embarrassed and walk away for a bit until I could get my thought back in my head. It wasn’t that I wanted her to leave, it was that I was really upset with how bad I had gotten. But I would come back.

I’d say, just hang out with him, be patient, bring a book if he walks away. Maybe see if there is anything he needs like some nice socks or a favorite soda or something small not given at the hospital. Don’t expect a lot of conversation at first because he’s most likely too confused, freaked, panicked to really converse about current events.

If he does start to tell you of what’s going on with his head circus, just listen and agree and keep questions simple and open. It’s hard and heart breaking, but he’s in there somewhere most likely trying to get out.

Good luck.


#3

Welcome to the forum.

Some websites you may find useful:
http://www.leapinstitute.org/ - under resources are free videos on using LEAP
LEAP is a way of communicating to build trust. Listen-Empathize-Agree-Partner.
http://dramador.com/ - Dr. Xavier Amador is a clinical psychologist whose brother had schizophrenia. He is the founder of the LEAP Institute. Wrote the book: I’m Not Sick I Don’t Need Help! Can buy from his website.
Search Xavier Amador and LEAP on youtube.com and you should find some long videos
http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/index.php - under problems you will see anosognosia
Anosognosia looks like denial but is different.
http://lesswrong.com/lw/e25/bayes_for_schizophrenics_reasoning_in_delusional/ - helped my understand delusions
http://www.nami.org/ - National Alliance on Mental Illness.
http://www.schizophrenia.ca/ - Schizophrenia Society of Canada

As SurprisedJ said, be supportive and listen to him. Learn what you can about schizophrenia and how it shows itself. My son and I didn’t always talk while he was inpatient. Just having someone there that he knows and is comfortable with can make a big difference.


#4

Thanks guys. I’m going to see him this afternoon and I have no idea what to expect.


#5

He does try to tell me he doesn’t have a problem but I think he knows he is telling a lie to make me feel better. He really worries that he’s a burden with his problems.


#6

I always worry that I’m too much of a burden. I’ve been working to try and be more self sufficient but when my attempts don’t go so well and my sister has to clean up after me I feel really rotten about that.


#7

He may not be lying when he is telling you that he doesn’t have a problem. At least from his point of view. He may know that something is wrong or doesn’t feel right which is why he agreed to be admitted but that doesn’t mean that he will agree that he has schizophrenia. Accepting this diagnoses can take a long time. To a certain extend my son will agree that he has schizophrenia in terms of paranoia and he knows that he thinks differently then me but he doesn’t think it’s something that needs to be fixed.